Fist announced in July last year, the ThinkPad Tablet is one of the two Android slates by Lenovo. While the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 takes care of the mainstream market, the company plans to venture into the lucrative enterprise sector with its business-centric ThinkPad Tablet. How does it fare as an enterprise tablet?
On the look-and-feel front, the ThinkPad Tablet reminds us of Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops, with a signature boxy design clad in black which gives no-nonsense and strict business look. The build quality is excellent although the hefty weight (730.5g) is likely to turn off those who are looking for something lightweight.
The extra profile width is used to accommodate an extensive range of connectivity ports such as a SD card reader, USB 2.0 port and micro-USB ports, and a SIM card slot. This will appeal to corporate and power users who need to work on the go. It also has a slot to house the ThinkPad Tablet Pen, which uses N-Trig’s DuoSense digitizer for pen and touch input. The Pen worked rather well for taking notes and drawing, especially on the preinstalled Notes Mobile app.
Staying true to the robust image of ThinkPad devices, the 10.1-inch display is reinforced with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. This will enable the ThinkPad Tablet to survive wear and tear better.
You also can find four physical buttons (Home, Backward navigation, Browser and Screen orientation lock) at the bottom of the screen when held in portrait mode. We found the buttons to be a little too stiff for our liking.
The back of the ThinkPad Tablet sports a matte-black finish that provides a better grip. The brand and model logos are splashed diagonally across the back, with the “i” in “ThinkPad” glowing red with the tablet is turned on.
Powering the ThinkPad Tablet is the NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core ARM 1.0GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, which comes with Android 3.1 out of the box. Despite the reasonably fast hardware, the user experience on the ThinkPad Tablet was dotted with sluggish interface transitions, especially when unlocking the tablet and closing apps. We found ourselves tapping several times on the screen before it registered our inputs.
Apps-wise, the ThinkPad Tablet is preloaded with productivity apps such as the full version of Documents to Go. It is also enterprise-friendly by providing support through Mobility Manager, an app that gives IT departments control over the tablet such as remotely wiping the data and data encryption.
Battery performance is acceptable for a business slate like the ThinkPad Tablet, which clocked close to five hours of battery life for our battery test. Given normal use (i.e. something less intensive than our batter test), five hours of use is the least you should expect.
The ThinkPad Tablet is currently sold in a bundle, which includes the 3G 32GB model, the Pen and a Folio Case. If the ThinkPad brand and the bundled suite of productivity apps appeals to you, this is certainly one to consider, if you can overlook the average performance. In comparison however, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer (with keyboard docking station) looks to be a better deal, with longer battery life and an excellent keyboard at a lower price.